Name: Leanne Steele
Location: Trussville, Alabama
In 2008, when I was 18 weeks pregnant with my first child, my doctor decided to test me early for gestational diabetes. At every appointment I was “spilling sugar” in my urinalysis. I failed the first glucose test so badly there wasn’t a need for a follow-up test—I had gestational diabetes.
I met with the hospital’s diabetes educator and immediately began following a diabetes-friendly diet. However, diet alone could not keep my blood glucose within a healthy range. I was put on two types of insulin injections, fast-acting and long-release.
The next five months were frustrating and disheartening. No matter how diligent I was with my diet or with testing and administering my insulin, I continued to have high blood glucose. But in the end, my hard work paid off, because my son was born perfectly healthy.
I was aware that I was at risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life because of my gestational diabetes (I also have a family history of diabetes). In December 2010 I went for my yearly checkup, which included an A1C test. My doctor was quite impressed with the work I had put in over the last year. I had begun running and practicing hot yoga and had lost 35 pounds of baby weight. I was also training for my first half-marathon. I was in the best shape of my life!
But a few days later the diabetes educator called with the results of my A1C: 6.7. I officially had type 2 diabetes, and it was more out of control than it had been during my pregnancy. I filled her in on my healthy and active lifestyle and she was completely shocked. I was not the typical person to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. She referred me to an endocrinologist for further treatment.
I expressed my desire to have a second child, and my endocrinologist explained the precautions I needed to take, how it may be necessary to use an insulin pump to better control my blood glucose. I was ready to tackle this whole diabetes thing.
Within a few months, I was thrilled (and terrified) to discover I was pregnant again. Before even telling my husband or my OB-GYN, I called my endocrinologist and scheduled an appointment. By the time I was eight weeks pregnant, I was on 1,000 milligrams of Metformin and daily insulin injections. It reminded me of my first pregnancy, but I was determined to fight the good fight.
Today, I am expecting another healthy baby boy in June. I have continued to exercise as much as possible and in February even participated in the Mercedes Marathon Relay—with a “baby on board” sign on the back of my t-shirt! Our team of five runners completed the entire 26.2 mile distance in 4 hours, 22 minutes. I received countless cheers of encouragement and pats on the back during my leg of the race. Turns out I was also motivating others . . . no one wants to get passed by a pregnant chick!
At my last checkup, my A1C was a remarkable 5.9. Maintaining control of my diabetes has been a profound challenge. Dealing with the highs and lows that come with this disease, as well as normal pregnancy side effects, has taught me to respect my body. I refuse to let diabetes ruin or control my life. With education and dedication, it can be managed.
One thing I know for sure: I sleep well at night knowing I’ve done everything in my power to keep myself, and my baby, as healthy as possible.
For more type two diabetes success stories go to:
Steele, Leanne. (March 26, 2012). Stories of Success. American Diabetes Association. http://diabetesstopshere.org/2012/03/26/success-stories/